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Old 01-01-2014, 12:01 AM
Scored: 1
Views: 3,834
Howling: New Moon Rising

Reviewer: Chunkblower
Review Date: December 31, 2013

Format: DVD
Released by: Dark Vision
Release date: N/A
All Region
Fullscreen 1.33| 16x9: No

Note: Since the film has no proper commercial release and the copy of this film I reviewed was a bootleg, I will forgo the usual technical evaluation, except to say the audio and video quality is only slightly better than the quality of the feature itself.

inline ImageAfter Howling VIís lukewarm commercial reception the group of investors behind the lycanthropic series decided that it was time to quit while they were ahead. Although profitable, itís was clear from the diminishing returns that interest in the series was beginning to wane and an increasingly competitive DTV/cable market would only make it more difficult to maintain the seriesí profitability. One man, however, would not be deterred from continuing the series: Howling 4 & 5 co-producer and scribe, Clive Turner. His idea: he would self-finance another Howling sequel, a final film that would pull together the disparate plot threads of Howlings 4, 5 and 6 and create a shared continuity in a film he would write, direct, edit, produce and star in. Whether he smoothed talked the investors or simply wore them down I donít know but, at any rate, he was given the right to use the Howling name and footage from the last three films in the series. Armed with a quickly penned script and $250,000 of his own money, Turner set out to create a fitting swan song for the series heíd been involved with for almost a decade. What he actually created was a laughable joke of a movie, a pathetic and insipid waste of celluloid so colossally awful that after its initial video release, New Line threw it in a vault and hoped everybody would forget it existed. If the series had any shred of credibility or dignity left after part VI, Howling: New Moon Rising sure wiped its ass with it and flushed it down the toilet. The magnitude of wretchedness on display in New Moon Rising is so mind-boggling that the English language may be inadequate to convey the depths of its awfulness. But, as always, Iíll give it a go.

The Story

inline ImageIn the desert, a couple of rustic rubes have discovered a partially uncovered skeleton wearing a wig. The Detective (John Ramsden) assigned to investigate the case is at a loss until a mysterious priest, Father John (John Huff) comes to visit him at his office. In the slowest, most tedious manner possible, as if thereís any possibility of mystery at all, the priest relates the events of the last three filmsÖincluding busting out a VHS copy of part six under the guise of examining ďhome video taken at the circus.Ē In an amazing bit of deductive reasoning, the Detective (heís never given a name) determines that not only was the partially buried, almost completely desiccated skeleton killed by a wolf, but the wolf in question stood well over six feet tall and walked upright on two legs. Despite his amazing deductive prowess heís unable to take the next leap of logic and conclude that a werewolf was responsible for the attack, though, and scoffs at the idea when the priest suggests it. This, of course, means that this torturous plotline is allowed to stretch out the entire length of the movie.

inline ImageConcurrently, Aussie biker Ted (Clive Turner) rolls into nearby Barstow (Texas? They never say, though the country music motif would suggest so). Heís ostensibly looking for work and a place to stay, and finds both at a roadside honkytonk, Pioneertown Palace, run by Pappy (Claude 'Pappy' Allen) and Harriet (Harriet Allen). Itís hinted very early on that Ted is there for some ulterior motive but, instead of developing that, weĎre treated to long montages of him sweeping the bar, drinking and telling corny jokes with the locals and a lot of bad country music. Ted strikes up a romance with a local woman (honestly, I have no idea what this characterís name is or who played her, but Iím reasonably sure sheís blonde), though the wounded woman keeps him at armís length, preventing even the most minor of interesting plotlines from developing.

inline ImageAn ex-con (Iím not sure heís ever referred to as anything other than ďhim,Ē or ďthat guyĒ so, sorry ďthat guyĒ for not giving you the credit you deserve. Actually, now that I think about it, youíre welcome), that gets drunk and tries to start trouble disappears almost immediately after leaving the bar and the suspicious locals turn their eyes towards Ted. Luckily, before any sort of suspense or mystery is about to be established, we learn that although Ted was not exactly upfront about his reasons for coming to Barstow, he is not a murderer or a werewolf. Oh, the film does contain a werewolf, though one so ineptly executed it mercifully appears for a single scene. The torturous dialogue that tries to explain away the preceding 90 minutes would be both confusing and insulting if the film had been able to inspire an even rudimentary level of interest, but Iíve watched weather patterns with more suspense and genuine interest than Howling: New Moon Rising is ever able to inspire.

Fuckís sake, what a joke this movie is.

inline ImageI can see how, on paper, this mightíve seemed like a good idea. Although weíve become accustomed to continuity warping franchises like Saw and Paranormal Activity, the idea of a sequel retconning previous films in a series was a relatively novel one in the mid-1990s. Comic books had been doing these sort of narrative barrel rolls for decades but the high risk associated with moviemaking made this approach unfeasible. If it was going to be done, itís no surprise that it was tried out on a no-budget production like this. I also have no doubt that Turnerís original script included ideas and scenes that did a far better job of pulling the last few films together into a single narrative. Really, I do. If his on screen persona is any indication, he seems like a pretty affable guy and I bear him no ill will. But, in trying to make Howling: New Moon Rising, he clearly bit off far more than he could chew and his lackluster writing ability, his inexperience behind the camera and his lack of resources defeated his ambitions before a single frame was shot. This is a god-awful picture that could not have turned out any other way.

Whatís so bad about New Moon Rising? Jesus, where do I start? How about: everything? As in, thereís not a single element of this film, be it the acting, writing, score, cinematography, editing or special effects that is up to par. In fact, theyíre not even in the same building as up to par. Or the same county. But, letís break it down a bit.

inline ImageFirstly, the acting. In this area, Iím actually tempted to give New Moon Rising a pass. Well, not the movie itself, but the performers in it. They are very clearly not trained actors, but local people lured into working for next to nothing by the prospect of being in a ďrealĒ movie. They never should have been in front of the camera while it was rolling and their failure hangs around Turnerís neck, and his neck alone. Other than Turner and brief cameos from Romy Windsor and Elizabeth She, none of the cast has any prior or subsequent acting credits to their name. Itís obvious Turner had great affection for these people since he lavishes even the most minor characters with an obscene amount of screen time - or maybe he just needed to deliver a 90 minute movie to secure distribution deal.

inline ImageYou know when people describe the make-up in a film as being ďlike a guy in a Halloween mask,Ē and you just nod because you know that the description is just hyperbole? Well, in this instance, thereís no hyperbole. In New Moonís single scene of werewolf action not pilfered from previous films, we are treated to a stunt man in a rubber mask. Other than that, the movie is entirely bloodless. Whatís even worse than all the werewolf action happening off screen is that we donít even get to see the aftermath: not even the wolf tracks or a single scrap of bloody clothing.

inline ImageAnd then, thereís the editing: to say itís awkward would be a charitable praise. This is the most jarringly assembled movie Iíve watched in a long, long while. Conversations that seem to have a point are cut off mid-sentence and weíre dropped into another scene in another location with other actors in a different conversation that is, again, mid-sentence. Lines of dialogue Iím guessing are supposed to be funny are clipped short with no laugh beat or reaction shot to signal their purpose. I get the distinct sense that Turner kinda shot this thing by the seat of his pants and then tried to shape the story in the editing room. A lot of the sort basic coverage youíd expect from a competent director: reaction shots, inserts, things like that, are almost entirely absent. Instead we get single takes of medium shots that are very clearly ADRíd with dialogue trying to plug the narrative holes. There isnít really any excuse for this sort of nonsense, either: when he set out to make New Moon Rising, Turner had written and produced two films. He should have at least a very basic understanding how and why films work the way they do. Hell, most people who watch movies have an instinctual sense of how to properly assemble a scene so that it serves a purpose, be it further the story or develop the characters within it. Considering that heís an experienced, if not accomplished, screenwriter itís almost surrealistic how little Clive Turner seems to understand visual storytelling.

inline ImageA modern frontier town with a country and western vibe is not a terrible milieu in which to set a werewolf film. Certainly, thereís a kind of rustic beauty in the scrubby desert along with geographic isolation that could make a desert town a fun setting for a werewolf story. Or, even a ďwho killed Laura PalmerĒ type mystery, if thatís the route Turner had chosen to go. See, thatís probably whatís most frustrating about New Moon Rising: itís loaded with scraps of ideas that, while not fantastic, should have been passably interesting. Even with the limited resources put into the film thereís no reason it should have turned out this fucking awful.

inline ImageWhat I donít get is, why would anybody bother releasing this, ever? Itís not just the ineptitude of the production, but the absence of any single selling point, at all. Thereís no blood or gore, action, suspense, mystery, nudity, or any of the base bullet points that bottom of the barrel dreck like this usually uses to sell itself. New Moon Rising doesnít even have the good sense to steal what little werewolf action there was in the last few films. This is a movie that would give Silent Night Deadly Night 2 a self-esteem boostÖ if Silent Night Deadly Night 2 were able to watch other movies, or care about its own quality in relation to those movies. Which it canít. So, I guess what Iím saying is that Howling: New Moon Rising is an utterly worthless waste of time.

Final Thoughts

inline ImageThereís always a risk when reviewing something this dreadful that youíre going to make somebody curious. Itís so easy to plant that nagging doubt: ďis it really as awful as he says?Ē Which is inevitably followed by the perverse desire to find out. Let me save you the trouble. New Moon Rising is not worth seeking out, not only because itís bad, but because itís boring as hell. The Howling series took an immediate and precipitous drop in quality after Joe Danteís brilliant original, so it was hardly a quality series to begin with, but New Moon Rising still manages to insult and sully the name of one of the worst franchises in horror history. And yet, it still manages to not have a single frame in the entire movie thatís worth a second of your time. Crack an egg into the sink and then spend ninety minutes trying to glue the shell back together and youíll will have spent your time with more good taste than watching Howling: New Moon Rising would demonstrate. This is seriously unwatchable dreck that should stay on permanent moratorium.


Movie - F

Image Quality - N/A

Sound - N/A

Supplements - N/A

Technical Info.
  • Colour
  • Running time - 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Rated R
  • 1 Disc
  • Chapter Stops
  • English 2.0 Audio
  • Greek subtitles

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Old 01-01-2014, 11:03 PM
This movie should make F- a possible option, just horrid..... What were the writers and director thinking?
'Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love... the clarity of hatred... and the ecstasy of grief.'
Old 01-02-2014, 12:12 AM
Screamy Bopper
Now this review really makes me wanna see it
Old 01-02-2014, 04:49 PM
Joe Six-Pack
I applaud you getting through this movie. I got about 5 minutes in a few years back and could not go any longer. IMO, this movie does not exist in the Howling franchise. At least the other sequels are watchable.
Old 03-14-2014, 08:04 PM
C'mon guys, one more to go! The Howling Reborn sometime before next Halloween!
Old 03-27-2014, 05:59 PM
*sigh* Do...do I have to?
Can't argue with a confident man.

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